The idea of everyday inanimate objects, sending and receiving data is a strange concept. By definition it sounds like something out of a Lovecraft novel. Over the past few decades, the Internet has made great strides, advancing from basic email systems to Web 2.0 and the Cloud. Nowadays there's not much in the world that can't be controlled using an everyday smart phone. It was just a matter of time before the technology started to fuse with home appliances and machines.
The Internet of Light
Intelligent lighting systems are no longer reserved for science fiction stories. Aptly nicknamed “The Internet of Light,” manufacturers are now creating wireless machine-to-machine lighting devices that literally have a mind of their own. From adjusting illumination strength to the weather conditions to reducing operating costs, smart lighting infrastructures are already proving to be very useful in the public sector.
The lighting industry really is a forerunner in the world of the Internet of Things. And there are two reasons why. Firstly, because smart lighting has a seamless plug-in-and-play installation process, and secondly, because where there are people, there will always be a need for artificial lighting. In addition, lights are already everywhere and contain a power source that can be hooked up to other devices; therefore, the infrastructure is already in place.
In most buildings all that's required is a central hub to serve as a single interface. Brands such as Philips and GE are currently manufacturing their own solutions and applications that are able to connect to Wi-Fi routers and control LED smart bulbs. Even now it's possible for users of these devices to change the colour, temperature and hue of their lights with ease.
The Everyday Benefits
Businesses are also starting to recognise the potential benefits of using the Internet of Light. For example, in the retail sector – where presentation is everything – lighting software could highlight products in their most flattering light. This could give rise to a whole new way of analysing big data.
But the Internet of Light doesn't just have positive outcomes for businesses. Imagine a lighting system that could understand if you're stressed or brighten up on a cold, miserable winter morning. Or a colour changeable led that could adapt its temperature depending on other light sources surrounding it. By having a intelligent lighting system that's programmed to enhance the environment of the user, both homes and workplaces could become far more comfortable, physically and psychologically. The environmental benefits could also be substantial, with recent reports predicting a possible 50 to 80 percent decrease in energy consumption when smart lighting systems finally become a worldwide standard.
The Internet of Things is everywhere. It's in your home, your place of work, your phone – everything! While it's not being fully utilized yet, it's just a matter of time before it's operational throughout the entire globe. Even today, the average Wi-Fi router has the power to connect to up to 50 different wireless devices at the same time. The groundwork is in place, it just needs a little fine tuning.